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Tropical storm churns past Baja, rain across northern Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Tropical Storm Ileana churned past the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula Tuesday and headed out to sea, while Tropical Storm Beryl weakened as it moved inland from the Gulf of Mexico.

Ileana doused the Baja resort towns of Los Cabos with rain, but "nothing too severe," said Randy Lehr, the American manager of the Hacienda Beach Resort in Cabo San Lucas.

"It looks like we got lucky, and the storm passed by to the south," Lehr said in telephone interview. Guests at his hotel were warned to stay out of the ocean, and some whiled away the time playing pool.

The Mexican government discontinued a hurricane warning for Los Cabos and areas slightly north on Tuesday afternoon after the storm's center whirled past 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of the peninsula.

"There hasn't been any damage so far, and the communications systems are working fine," said Baja California state spokesman Juan Antonio Flores.

The storm, with winds of 70 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour), was moving out into the Pacific Ocean at 10 miles per hour (16 kilometers per hour).

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Beryl lumbered ashore on Mexico's northeast coast Tuesday, swirling into land over a sparsely populated stretch of coast 110 miles (180 kilometers) south of the border cities of Matamoros and Brownsville.

The storm quickly weakened to tropical depression status as it dropped rain over northern Mexico, and the Mexican government discontinued most storm warnings for coastal areas.

The hurricane center reported Beryl could cause rainfall of 5 to 10 inches (12 to 25 centimeters), but predicted the system would probably dissipate by Wednesday.

Beryl's winds had fallen to 35 miles per hour (55 kilometers per hour), and the weakening system was moving roughly west at about 9 miles per hour (15 kilometers per hour).

Residents were evacuated from two low-lying fishing villages in the Gulf coast state of Tamaulipas and taken to improvised shelters at schools and a sports complex, the government news agency Notimex reported.

The U.S. National Weather Service canceled hurricane and tropical storm warnings for South Texas, where some heavy showers were reported.

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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